Skip to main content

tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  May 8, 2014 10:00am-11:00am EDT

10:00 am
>> i'm ali velshi, the news has become this thing where you talk to experts about people, and al jazeera has really tried to talk to people, about their stories. we are not meant to be your first choice for entertainment. we are ment to be your first choice for the news. the undocumented immigrant experien. a pulitzer prize winning journalist tells us why he risked everything to go public with his story. plus the war in nigeria, and the war on drugs, is it a waste of government, plus the first undocumented immigrant . >> boko haram, the words mean,
10:01 am
western education is sin lful. >> burned people alive and at the end of it some 150 people were dead. >> this is not just a nigerian issue, it is a global issue. >> russian president president vladimir putin says he pulled back his troops from the ukrainian border. >> jose antonio vargas. >> i'm extremely loyal. >> we begin with another hor isk and horrific and deadly terror attack in nigeria. at least 150 people have been found dead after a grenade attack in northeastern nigeria. the attack adds to nigeria's
10:02 am
growing crises. boko haram's violent terror campaign has killed over 1500 people just this year. protest has swelled after the kidnapping of almost 300 school girls. the nigerian government has been completely unable to stem the rise of boko haram. the girls have pen with in the -- been in the hands of militants for three weeks. have been sold as child brides for as little as $12. joining us from dakar senegal , a are joinjournalist who has covered boko
10:03 am
haram extensively. boko haram has now killed 150 people in this latest incident. kidnapped over 200 girls, attacked schools with its hatred of western education including killing 59 boys in one attack. they have been around for more than a decade. what do they want? >> well it began over a decade ago by radical islamist preacher who said he wanted to combat the ills of the nigerian government namely political corruption. his proposed solution was to start a islam ick stat ic state in nigeria. they began rock banks, attacking policemen and after a security crack down by the government five years ago, the group unleashed a wave of violence that has been going on for over five years where they've been attacking civilians, weddings,
10:04 am
funerals, churches some military targets, all in the name of jihad. they have established links with international terrorist groups like offshoots of al qaeda. so right now it seems that you know they either went the nigerian government to hand over power, and let them have the islam ick state or they just want to -- islamic state or make nigerians feel they can't live in their own country safely. >> the leader abu bakar shakao gloating about the are killings. much of what they have been doing has been simply criminal. have they become more of a criminal enterprise or has the mission of creating
10:05 am
sherea law, been more of a goal? >> that is both a jihaddist group and an enterprise. it's such a loose network of various cells. it's impossible to know whether the core jihadi group actually launched an attack or whether it's an isolated cell creating a criminal act under the name of boko haram. >> go ahead. >> it's very impossible to figure out who exactly they are, to pinpoint them what they say they are doing. >> this chaos that this group has created are they succeeding because the largest city in the area where they operate population wise about the size of tucson has no commercial flights going in there and the roads there are considered terribly dangerous. >> yes, and that's what's so frustrating about what happened in the town where the girls were kidnapped. because the
10:06 am
nearliest city there used to be one flight there and the flight was cancelled at the end of last year. and to take roads into the remote villages is virtually impossible. they are basically no-go zones, this area is very isolated. >> the girls who were abducted in april, who escaped, were barely able to talk at all. what did they tell you about their abduction? >> yes, both of these girls i spoke to were able to escape fairly early on. one managed to jump out of the truck when the militants were taking the girls to one of their forest camps. she told me at the time she was thinking i'd rather die by jumping off this truck than from someone shooting me. another girl waited until they reached the camp in the forest and then she pulled over to the fence close and made a run for
10:07 am
it in the woods. that's how they feel most of the girls who are back now got away is by escaping once they reached the camp or jumping off the trucks. as the group has moved further to the border of nigeria and other countries. it has become more difficult for the girls to escape. >> and also the area where where they are is a very dense forest. it borders cameroon. by many reports the area they could be in could be an area of the size of west virginia. is there any hope of rescuing them? >> unfortunately the military and the government has not been able to launch a successful operation until now and so we are even hearing reports that the militants and the girls many of them are no longer even in nigeria. and so because these girls have been broken up into smaller groups it's going to be significantly more difficult to
10:08 am
obtain them. >> it's such a horrifying story one can only just hope for best. alexis akewoo thank you for coming. >> thanks for having me. >> no plan to send u.s. troops to africa. 20 women serving in the u.s. senate though have sent a bipartisan letter to president obama calling on him to do more. must take action before these girls are sold into slavery. >> we are anguished as mothers, grandmothers and lovers of children that this is what the children, the girls in nigeria are worth. and so our first command and demand is to use all resources to bring the terrorist thug to justice.
10:09 am
>> joining us now is california congresswoman karen bass, who skits on the subcommittee for africa, other members of black caucus she met with nigerian officials and secretary of state john kerry to help find the women. congresswoman, it's great to have you with us. less than 10 people will be involved in any kind of rescue. what did you discuss with the secretary? what can the u.s. do? >> well, first of all, it was a very positive meeting. we discussed many different places in africa as well as other parts of the world. but what he assured us was that the united states was going to work in cooperation with the nigerian government and that their request thus far has been for assistance in intelligence. we have the fbi on the ground, we have the military on the ground from an advisory point of view. so sharing intelligence
10:10 am
information is absolutely key. i felt very strong that the united states is doing all that we can. i will bring your attention, though, that there are many women in both the house and the senate that are now calling on the united nations to make sure that boko haram is added to the list of terrorist organizations and sanctioned like al qaeda. and so i think what you have here is a real concerted effort bipartisan, bicamera from congress, attempting to do everything that the united states can within our power. >> the u.s. has declared it a terrorist organization. and senator seurch susan collins, others on the hill are calling for the u.n. to help rescue the girls. what do you think about that? >> we did meet the group of women, went to the nigerian embassy. i spoke to the nigerian
10:11 am
ambassador he is in nigeria right now so wasn't with us in the meeting. i think it's appropriate for us to respond to the requests made by the nigerian government. and i did not get the impression that they were asking for that right now. >> but the nigerian government has been so roundly criticized for not moving quickly on this. and then when they have moved, they've done it in a haphazard way with very little intensity. are you concerned that not nearly enough is being done? >> i'm absolutely concerned. i'm concerned for the life and the safety of the girls. and my sympathy and empathy goes out to the parents. i tell you in the beginning the nigerian response was not well coordinated. you will remember because i know your station reported it, that all the girls were rescued and then changed that story. had not communicated well, efforts they have been doing. one of the things they assured
10:12 am
us is that they have, their direct response was, our country is unified in a response to find the girls. they did say however, that they were worried about, if they went in with troops or anything like that, that boko haram and its leader who is a psychopath would just outright slaughter the girls. and you know, this is a time when boko haram has come into the consciousness of the u.s. population. but on the continent of africa, many places around the world and certainly in nigeria, people are very familiar with their reign of terror. and prior to the an dusks girls had he had been -- abduction of girls, they had been going in and slaughtering boys, 59 in one occasion. >> just one attack 59 boys. nigeria has been criticized for what they have done.
10:13 am
should this international community have moved sooner even if they hadn't asked? >> this was made clear to me by secretary kerry. i think there has not been a lot of attention given to help and attention and coordination that was already happening. so for example the assistant secretary, linda thomas greenfield was in nigeria in december working with the nigerians in relationship with boko haram long before this incident. so there has been ongoing cooperation between the united states and nigeria. could there have been more, should there have been more, absolutely. i think this is a horrific act and i'm hoping that the international outrage that has happened because of this will really mobilize international effort so we can put an end to boko haram for good. >> i know you're calling for the nigerian government to come up
10:14 am
with relief funds for others who are suffering as a result of boko haram. congresswoman karen bass, thank you for joining us and helping us raise awareness for the terrible tragedy in nigeria. >> thanks forhaving me on. now to a possible break in the ukrainian crisis. after meeting on wednesday russian president vladimir putin announced that russian troops had pulled back from their position he inon the ukrainian border. postpone a referendum on independence for ukraine's eastern regions that was set for sunday. ukraine's prime minister derided putin's call as just hot air. troops in slovyansk, took a moment to bury their debt. nick spicer, good of you to join us. i believe putin's statements are
10:15 am
received skeptically by the ukrainian government but i believe he's blinked a little bit and changed his tune in a number of ways. >> the attitude is definitely wait and see. in calling on the separatists in eastern ukraine, to postpone the referendum, not cancel it scheduled for this sunday, that's definitely something that will lower the tensions to a certain extent. because there is supposed to be a presidential election nationwide on may the 25th. kyiv, the government here, western powers, the united states, the european union, all feel that this election is the only way out of the crisis to have a new leader elected who is legitimately chosen and who is recognized as the leader of all the ukrainians is really the only way to get the sides who are disagreeing and it's a complicated situation, to come together, and to put down the weapons, on one side and the other, and to move towards
10:16 am
peace. >> all along, the feeling has been that putin was actually trying to destabilize ukraine to not allow for those may 25th presidential election s. in fact, his foreign minister sergey lavrov was talking about the fact that the country wasn't ready for those elections. but now the country seems open to accepting them but with some preconditions? >> precisely. it's all about the preconditions. the preconditions that the russian president mentioned when he was meeting with the european union en-- the european envoy, that the ukrainian armed forces have to stop trying to take back the positions of the pro-russian forces. they have taken over administrative buildings in ten to 12 places in southeastern
10:17 am
ukraine. is he going to say in the future the military action hasn't stopped therefore i no longer support the idea of a presidential election, that is something that we'll just have to wait and see. people in kyiv are very skeptical. it has to be said about what the russian president puts forward. you have to remember that when russia annexed crimea, it said that there were no russian troops on the ground there. and then vladimir putin said well actually there were some assisting in the takeover of military base there. the fear is that template of crimea will be transposed to southeastern ukraine. while people are somewhat hopeful they are very skeptical. >> is this a result of the sanctions? are the sanction he having an effect? because russian stocks went up almost immediately when they heard this more conciliatory language out of putin. >> you just have to get inside the russian president's ahead to answer that question.
10:18 am
it's hard to say, certainly the beginning of the crois is -- crisis, the imong imoption of imposing o imposition of the first part of the sanctions, and second part of sanctions, people who have his ear, he must be listening to those voices to a certain extent. but look vladimir putin looks at ukraine as really a part of russia to a certain extent. he even uses the word new russia which goes back hundreds of years in catherine the great for that part of russia. that a big part of ukraine really belongs to russia. so it's difficult to say what really motivated him in making that move and what its real significance will be in the long term. for short term the significance
10:19 am
is he's calling on the pro-independence people in the southeast of the country to give up for the time being on their dreams of independence, and to participate in the election on may the 25th. >> let's hope these are true positive signs. al jazeera's nick spicer, good for you to join us from kyiv. thank you. decades after it began has the war on drugs been a massive waste of money and should we change course? the supreme court's popularity, and our social media producer, hermela aregawi, what's trending? >> i'll tell you more coming up. we want to hear from you throughout the show.
10:20 am
the performance review. that corporate trial by fire when every slacker gets his due. and yet, there's someone around the office who hasn't had a performance review in a while. someone whose poor performance is slowing down the entire organization. i'm looking at you phone company dsl. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business.
10:21 am
>> is the global war on drugs a lost cause, just a dream? five nobel prize winners say just that. they signed off on a new report from the london school of economics that calls for an end to the drug war and for resources to be massively
10:22 am
redirected to what they call effective policies, for more i'm joined by john collins. he is also the editor of the school's expert group's report ending the drug wars. john, good of you to join us. you write that international efforts to control drugs have been going on for more than a century. have they been a total failure, have they slowed the flow and use of illegal drugs? >> overall it's a complicated question when we look over a century. but over the last few decades absolutely drug control efforts have been a total failure in that they haven't really stemmed the flow of narcotics incrediblely and are enormous international harms. what size the market would be absent controls, we can acquaint phi the harms in terms of what current drug policies are doing.
10:23 am
resulting in thousands of deaths, massive levels of incarceration, destroys and for very little outcomes and drug prices have been declining, drug purity has been rising over the last couple of decades. it's fair to say that the international drug policy is failing, has failed. >> you also mentioned massive displacement along the border to the united states, more than 200,000 people there and within columbia yah, where there are more people displaced in columbia yah in places more than syria. >> and sudan, columbia yah has actually outpeaced them. drug violence has enormous impact on places like columbia yah, quaw guatemala, and corporation don't
10:24 am
set up there and the economies go into decline. so there's enormous spillover consequences of these drugs in such countries. >> this became an international rally call in 1998. becoming a drug free world is not only colluded but counterproductive? >> it is in no way a rational goal, to aim for a drug free world. there has never ever been a drug free society. what you end up doing is spending enormous amount of resources on things that are ineffective and probably harmful. so we have a situation now where things like harm reduction at the international level, syringe exchanges, safe inimpression sites, t -- safe injection
10:25 am
sites, methadone sites, because of a doarches -- a deference to this drug free world ideology, we shouldn't make any accommodation with drugs that's why it is a pernicious idea to talk about a drug free world because it is totally unrealizable. >> supply side in going after illegal drugs by destroying poppy fields, cocaine and marijuana operations, going after the drug cartels, if demand side focusing on, of course this has also led to what you are also speaking of massive incarceration. >> how do we minimize the harms of that. and i don't think there's any evidence or any case to be made that the war on drugs is the way to do that.
10:26 am
whether it's going in and burning crops which has absolutely zero impact on country cumtio consumption rater whether it is lock up abusers, neither of those course he has any real merit in my view. what we want to be doing is pursuing an evidence based public policy based approach tot issutothe issue. instead of suppressing the flow of drugs which is basically chasing commodities around the world and all the violence that goes with it, you focus on minimizing the violence, protecting human rights, protecting public health. >> what about decriminalization, portugal decriminalized in 2001. now colorado has legalized recreational marijuana. washington state is close behind.
10:27 am
some argue that the portugal experiment has been a success. but now we are seeing almost every week new reports of issues in colorado. >> i think the important thing here is not to conflate decriminalize aches, an -- d decriminalization, proven to be enormous. they push people away from public health services. they create enormous damage in people's lives, they make it difficult to immigrat integrate into society. they should not be punishing people who are essentially if people who are addicted to drugs or use drugs on a recreational level, legalization is an entirely different matter.
10:28 am
it is a very long way to say that the war on drugs is a different matter. we don't suggest a head lon rush in that direction. -- long rush in that direction. they are happening in washington, colorado and uruguay. we don't know what the outcomes exactly will be. they probably, i'd be pretty certain that the outcomes would be less bad than the current war on drugs approach because the course of that is so clear and so large. but we want to do it in a correct way that minimizes the growth in cannabis cumtio consumption. it's too hard to find out what's happening in washington, colorado or uruguay for that matter. >> we'll stay on top of the story. john collins thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> turning now to what's
10:29 am
becoming a deeply unpopular branch of government and for once it's not congress or the white house. a new poll finds a majority of americans don't like the job the supreme court is doing, and quite often think justices let their personal views influence their position on the law. 63% rate the supreme court's job performance as fair or poor. and 60% say justices on the roberts court let their personal or political views influence their decisions. for more i'm joined from chicago by university of chicago law professor jeffrey stone who at one time clerked for supreme court justice william brennan. as always, good to see you. taking a look at gallup polls, the supreme court's popularity has gone up and down since 2001. it was nearing historic lows at the end of last year, not as low
10:30 am
as this 35% that was reported by the greenburg poll. should the justices be dhearnd their popularity is dropping -- concerned that their plampt is popularity is being lowered? >> what majorities want to do particularly when they are overbearing. when the supreme court protects gays or earve african americans, it's can acting in a way that the public perceives as political that's a real problem. it's especially a problem to the extent that it's true. >> and it's still more popular than congress, quite a bit more popular than congress and according to the gallup poll, more popular than the president. when we looks at the roberts
10:31 am
obamacare decision, where roberts went with the liberal justices and voted to uplolled obamacare, many felt that was a response by justice roberts to public opinion. and considering what the court would be seen, how the court would be seen by the public. >> justices should not decide cases because they think it would make the court more or less popular with the public. they should decide cases because they are trying their best to interpret the constitution and to apply it in a faithful manner. they should not be concerned at all, the supreme court then the judiciary generally is not meant to be responsive to popular will, it is meant to be a count action to popular will. >> term after term of 5-4 decisions would threaten the rule of law. but according to the atlantic, the roberts court has set the record for 5-4
10:32 am
decisions. >> i do think they're right. i think the conservative justice he have allowed themselves in the guise of constitutional interpretation too often to basically see the constitution through their own political ideologic ideological decisions. a conservative plosio politiciae the outcome. >> do you predict where they're going to come down? >> i don't think it's the same thing. when you look at the liberal justices they are predictable from the primary function of the supreme court that is to protect dissenters, political minorities minorities, racial minorities, and they're doing their job in the way the supreme court should function. you can't make any principled splidges of the patterns -- explanation of the patterns
10:33 am
they've come down to. >> most conservatives, five justices who tend to take conservative positions but gallup found that 30% of americans think the court is too liberal and 22% too conservative. that's been pretty consistent for last half decade at least. >> for the most part, they probably suggested most of the american people don't know much about what the report actually does. the only decisions that the supreme court has hand he down in recent years that could lead people to think it's too liberal have to do with the same sex marriage issue. for the most part other than that and in a few minor free speech cases, it's been pretty consistently conservative in its outcomes. >> has the court's reputation been damaged by these controversial rulings? these latest polls say democrats and republicans oppose the citizens united decision. >> i think citizens united did not help the
10:34 am
are court in the people's estimation. part of the reason it generated so much antagonism is that it sees essentially the court putting its weight behind the interest of corporations behind billion airs and the american people find it very hard to figure out what the court is doing interpreting the constitution when those are the groups they are protecting. they protect themselves very well. >> the majority of people think the supreme court should not have lifetime tenure. are certainly it's good to talk about the court and to see you know, it would be great to know more about them than we do. jeffrey stone as always good to have you on the show. >> thanks antonio good to be here. >> what's trending on the webb. hermella. >> we think this is a bold move but whether or not you support it, is another matter.
10:35 am
25-year-old emily lets, whether she found out she was pregnant last november, she knew she would have an abortion. what did she do? she decided to film it. >> i'm not ready to have children. i'm having an abortion tomorrow morning. >> to show women that there is such thing as a above abortion story. >> the video is not graphic but it may not be for everyone. this is your warning. the procedure takes place at the women's clinic where lets works, shows her from the waist up, talking and humming through the abortion. very impassioned on both sides. some praise lets for her decision. nobody likes a trail blazer. this is something we should be able to talk about. of course pro-life advocates are up in arms about this video but even some people who are
10:36 am
pro-choice are uncomfortable with lets approach. bethany said, i'm pro-choice but that emily lets video is just disturbing. lets said she did this to combat the stigma that comes with abortion. let us know what you think @ajconsiderthis. >> straight ahead, would you risk an aaward winning career for a life of others? a man who is doing that now to help millions of undocumented immigrants. >> schooling are failing in closing the racial achievement gap. why many feel the first openly
10:37 am
10:38 am
>> with immigration reform stalled in congress the white house announced more modest
10:39 am
policy changes this week including allowing spouses of highly skilled temporary immigrants to work in the u.s. the issue is deeply personal for our next guest. jose antonio vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant. for a new documentary. >> immigration is a story and here is my story. my grandparents illegally immigrated from the philippines in the 1980s. my grandfather decided he was going to get his grandson to come to america. one morning my suitcase was packed. i was 12. it's been 18 years since i've seen my mother. so i'm launching a whole campaign about what it means to be an american and the fact that i am an american. there are 11 million undocumented people in this country. in 2010 undocumented people paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes.
10:40 am
>> i'm from colombia. >> i'm from nigeria. >> we're not who you think we are. >> jose are an antonio vargas wrote directed and shot the film. great to have you with us. in june 2011 you wrote a piece in the new york times magazine that told your story. you're a pulitzer prize winning journalist, why did you do this? >> i did it with great privilege comes great responsibility. not everyone can public a 4,000 word essay in the new york times basically admitting everything. i feel like what's really lacking with this issue is the kind of honesty, right? honesty not only from
10:41 am
undocumented people like me from our elected leaders. and so for me, the piece, the essay was about asking this question of how do you define american and hopefully kind of try to elevate this conversation and take it out of this u.s. mexico border security illegal kind of framework. >> now this had consequences immediately. your driver's license was taken away when you went public. getting a license in the first place was how you found out you were undocumented. >> yeah. this was in 1997. i had been in this country for four years at that time. and like any 16-year-old i went to the dmv to get a driver's license, a permit at the time. and that's what i found out that the green card that my grandfather had given me was fake. there was no google. i thought i had been the almost only nonlatino, nonmexican who
10:42 am
was mexican. even mexicans were undocumented immigrants which was of course not true. >> how did you get a license? >> the woman said i cannot show up in d.c. without a license. i actually researched it. i figured out there were two states at the time that actually allowed undocumented people to get drivers licenses. i wept to oregon. the license had a ten-year -- the expiration was like for ten years it was valued. so i -- valid. i was able to travel around the cup because because of that license. actually hold on. let me remember. actually eight years not ten years so that's what i used for eight years. >> i know you've always paid your taxes. what did the driver's license allow you to do, it lou allowedu to work? >> it allowed you to work.
10:43 am
in post9/11 america, how do you fly without identification? it was my only legallily acceptable identification. is there anything more legal than driving by the way? california? washington, d.c, new mexico and washington state are actually allowing undocumented people in their state to drive. and other states should follow suit. >> you have done extensive work as you said, focused on defining what an american is. what conclusion did you come to? >> well i think -- look, what's really lacking in this issue as well is a sense of history, right. dur the -- during the potato famine in ireland, people crossed the border that was the atlantic ocean and landed on ellis island without papers, they just showed up. did we call the irish people criminal?
10:44 am
there was lots of discrimination against the italian and irish when they showed up, what's now makes it a little more complicated is the undocumented immigrants who are moving here are latino and asian. not white. how do we define what an american is and what are really the limits of law, right? immigration is not a black and white thing. and what i've really found is the american public is -- there's a huge misunderstanding and a lack of information when it comes to this issue. >> what is the reaction been from the federal government? have you heard whether you'll be deported? >> actually there's a scene in the film where i outed smiex in in -- myself in june of 2007, why i haven't gotten deported at that point. in the film i actually call the government myself, ice which is the immigration and customs enforcement,
10:45 am
why are you planning to deport me, why or why not? the woman on the other end of the line is like, we can't comment on your case. they know who i am but they can't comment on it. which is i think kind of a metaphor for how the american government talks about undocumented in this country. we all know we're here, what do you want to do he with us? >> a lot of discussion what that will be. very quickly, one thing i haven't brought up. you haven't seen your mom more than two decades. >> 21 years. 21 years this august. >> in a way you got to meet her again through documentary. >> that has been one of the most real part of the film. it goes where i can't go, to the philippines to document her so she and i kind of meet on film. but this is the really reality of a broken immigration system. we have countless families broken and torn apart. she can't come here and i can't go there, there's no guarantee i
10:46 am
will be allowed back. we meet on film. >> jose antonio vargas. thank you for coming. >> thank you for having me. >> it's documented. coming up. >> real mvp. >> a player gives emotional credit where credit is due. >> plus schools get a bad grade >> on techknow... >> we're heading towards the glaciers >> a global warning >> is there an environmental urgency? >> that is closer than you think... >> even a modest rise, have dramatic impacts on humankind. >> how is it changing the way you live today? techknow... every saturday, go where science meets humanity... >> this is some of the best driving i've ever done... even though i can't see. >> techknow... >> we're here in the vortex... only on al jazeera america
10:47 am
10:48 am
>> on real money with ali velshi, a yearlong series, america's vanishing middle class... >> i'm on a mission, that i have to keep this business going... >> three families struggling every day >> we had to pull the whole retirement fund... >> real stories... real people... real advice... >> you need to pay the water bill, if you don't pay it, we're shutting your water off in a half hour >> how will you survive? >> the stakes are so high... >> america's middle class: rebuilding the dream on real money with ali velshi on al jazeera america a. >> today's data dive goes back to school. america's report card on test scores probably would not be put up on the affirmative. educational report on high school seniors show math scores have gone up since they were first tested in 2005 but they are virtually unchanged in the past five years.
10:49 am
what's worse is that only 26% of seniors were at or above the proficient level in math last year. reading scores though have gone down since the first assessment in 1992. even though they have been flat since 2009. only 38% are at or above a proficient reading level. more glaring issues: the gap between whites and minorities isn't getting any smaller. black students still score 30% below white students in math, that's the same as eight years ago. in reading the gap in scores has widened to 38%. it's only a little better for latino students, they score 37 better than white. however asian and pacific islanders score better than any group. some feel the results are politicized and shouldn't focus exclusively on math and reading because that helps the narrowing ever milk school curriculum.
10:50 am
public fight over common core, indiana became the first state to drop the nationwide curriculum standards last month before they've even been fully implemented nationwide. coming up the nation's first openly gay football player won a al jazeera america gives you the total news experience anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on
10:51 am
facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america.
10:52 am
children at work only on al jazeera america >> the 2014 nfl draft begins thursday evening in new york but the biggest news might not come until the later rounds.
10:53 am
that's when we might hear michael sam's name called. if he's drafted he might be the first openly gay player in the nfl. >> because i came out and was the first one to do it, i think it can be a beacon for others. young athletes who may be gay or may be not. i can be a beacon for those, i can be comfortable in my own skin. >> joining me from silver spring maryland, dave zyron. author of the upcoming are book, brazil's dance with the devil, the world cup and the dance for democracy. his game over was just nominated for an award for sports writing. let's talk about michael sam. when 21 nfl scouts were asked about drafting him, they said they would not use a draft pick on him.
10:54 am
what's going to happen? >> it's going to be suspenseful. going from the southeastern conference to the nfl is a demotion. but michael sam is a a 'tweener. not quite fast enough to be an offensive linebacker. a lot of teams quite frankly worried about the public relation he debacle if michael sames does not get drafted at all. >> he's too short and too slow to be a linebacker, not a defensive end, he was the sec player of the year. how do you square all of that? >> it's going to be tough. players like michael sam the way they grade out, usually go in
10:55 am
the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds. there's no shame in that. a lot of good players, richard sherman, was drafted in those later rounds. but the issue is going to become, that question that's lingering out there which is the fact that nfl general managers are some of the most risk averse people on earth and you could just see them getting nervous about, do i want the distraction, do i want the scrutiny, do i want everything that comes of being the home of the first openly gay player in the nfl? of course that's completely backwards. that's the nfl problem, not michael sam's problem. i want to take you into the mind of some of these guys. the way they think is not the way being aligned with a forward-thinking view of what makes us human beings. >> wade davis, a former nfl player who came out as gay after
10:56 am
retiring, says the nfl is in a no-win situation with sam. if he gets cut from training camp before the season starts? >> i mean not so much if he gets cut from training camp before the season starts because there will be enough footage, because what michael sam's players say is he's a gamer. not one that does well in the sprints or weight lifting but when you see him in the field he's an impact player. it is entirely possible that michael sam will not get drafted and have to go into the camp as a free agent. no shame in that. it would be better for sam because he can pick and choose where he goes. as a high level college player who doesn't get drafted he would probably have his pick in terms of nfl teams, where to go for training camp. a place where strong veteran leadership, strong coaching, strong front office to deal with
10:57 am
the media, and weaker team like the miami dolphins with all the bullying issues and problems in the locker room he could stay away from teams like that. that would probably go after michael sam for no other reason than the fact that he is going to be under the microscope. it will be very interesting to see what happens. the real pr disaster, i think it will be a pr history if he doesn't get drafted and a major hit if he looks good in training camp but gets cut anyway. >> on the other hand would there be a positive pr aspect to it if some team decided to choose him? nfl decided on wednesday they have encouraged him to receive an award, some of the past awardees are mohamed ali, billie jean king, and that's
10:58 am
an awfully high company. >> impressed with his leadership skills his ability to carry himself, he's a great interviewer and the type of person that nfl teams want in the locker room. there's a lot of twists and turns to this thing. if there's an nfl team that prizes character that wants good locker room people i can see him grading up to the fifth round or even the fourth round. but it's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. >> kevin durant, it was really marvelous, was awarded the nba award he had marvelous things to say about hi mom. >> you put food on our can table, clothes on our back. you sacrificed for us. you are the real mvp.
10:59 am
[applause] >> i misspoke and said thursday, he got it on tuesday. certainly it was an incredible moment. >> let's talk about this. first of all right in time for mother's day, my goodness, it just got dusty in here. kevin durant is from sea pleasant maryland, where i used to work out there in st. georges county. we are all terribly proud of kevin durant. we wish he would come play for kansas city when his contract is up. a pride of the d.c. area. >> a great moment, congratulations to him and his mom. brazil's dance with the the show may be over but the conversation continues on our website
11:00 am
>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. here are the stories we are following for you. a moment of silence for those missing nigerian school girls. at the world economic forum in abuja. the chairman says terrorism won't dictate their agenda. pro-russian activists say an autonomy referendum will go forward despite request from russia's president to postpone it. plus: >> the inmates